Hungry Accipiters

I really wish I had a picture for this post. I guess that will have to wait until I manage to get a dSLR camera with a nice 300mm fixed lens. Anyways…

Standing in one spot for a whole day gives me quite a chance to observe things that I don’t ordinarily get to see. I was up at the hawk watch, like I will be every day for the next 6 weeks, scanning the skies and waiting for the next migrating raptor. Off in the distance I see a Cooper’s Hawk winging its way northward towards me. Just as I am getting excited that I will get to put down another tick for the day, he (a really small bird, hence ‘he’) tucks his wings and disappears into the trees just south of me. Hanging my head in disappointment, I lower my pen and start scanning the horizon again for the next bird.

Since this is still early in the season, I don’t see a thing for the next 45 minutes. Then, all of a sudden, there is a Coop in view again. Closer, closer he flies and what do I notice? This little Cooper’s Hawk has a crop the size of a Junco! It’s huge, bulging even.

Hmm, I put my thinking cap on and resume scanning. Not more than 10 minutes pass before a Sharp-shinned Hawk disappears at the same location as the Cooper’s did. I am starting to get suspicious at this point. When I see, 25 minutes later, a Sharpie with a huge extending crop, it all becomes clear. Someone has set up an accipiter feeding station just down ridge of me! Oh, the idea is brilliant. Just think of it. You can set up some tubes of thistle or sunflower seeds, disguised as ordinary and innocent bird feeders. Placed in a location where accipiters pass every day and Walah!, an accipiter feeding station.

Now to find the yard and get some pictures of hunting in action.